Nate McQueen

Talents Abound Featuring Nate McQueen

In this edition of Talents Abound, we feature UTAPS' Nate McQueen, who allowed us to interview him regarding his latest release, Moses Jones and the Case of the Missing Sneaker, an illustrated children's book about a man and his cat who seek to find his lost sneaker. This is his second published book. His first book, Between Lions and Lambs, is available here.

1). How does this book differ from your past writing?

"Well, I mainly write fiction for adults that has more mature subject matter. My novel, Between Lions and Lambs, deals with issues of religious leaders and faith, so writing a children’s book is nice because it can be a more literal story without ontological subtext. The illustrations, however, were quite a time consuming and tedious process."

2). Is writing for children one of your passions or was it something new?

"I didn’t plan on it. I wrote a series of stories with the Moses Jones character before I had kids. When my oldest daughter was older, I would read the stories to her and she loved them. She mainly motivated me to write more stories and, eventually, illustrate them. In my opinion, I am a much better writer than illustrator. But my daughters like them, so that’s what matters most."

Moses Jones3). What are some of the challenges when writing, either for children or adults?

"With children, it is the illustrations. But, you also have to apply techniques and basic language that children can relate to. It helps being around kids to understand what draws them in to a story. With more mature, complex works, especially fiction, there are several aspects of writing that can consume you. Creating empathetic characters and using language to convey meaning beyond plot and action is a challenge. With each story, I learn what works and doesn’t work. Recognizing your flaws will help strengthen your writing. Unfortunately, sometimes you have to pump out 10,000 words only to realize it sucks."

4). Did you have something in particular that gave you inspiration for this book?

"Mainly my children motivated me. They are a huge inspiration, and to see them engage with something I wrote fueled me to continue with illustrating and writing more stories. I have two daughters and they, like most daughters, can bat those pretty eyes and get me to write them books. Or give them candy."

5). When did you discover or realize your talent/passion for writing?

"That’s a funny story. From birth to eighteen, I rarely picked up a book. But I did love movies which helped shape my interest for stories. My wife got me interested in reading my first year of college and, since then, I am always reading a book. When my first daughter was born, I wrote a short story and it took off from there. I never had dreams of being a writer. But, I just had a knack for it, I guess. That’s what people tell me anyway."

6). Do you have a favorite subject or topic to write about?"

"Not necessarily. Each subject or character I write about is different in each story. Everything, from the way they put their socks on, is different. If there were something I had to say, it would probably be  that I have flawed characters. I guess it depends on what inspires me."

7). In a previous featurette, we learned you were pursuing a Master's degree in Creative Writing. How close are you to earning your degree?

"I have this semester and Spring 2013, barring any failed classes, budget cuts, or exam failures. Fingers crossed."

We at The FOCUS would like to wish McQueen good luck on his Master's! We would also like to thank him for offering his time to allow us to interview him, and share his story. If you are interested in checking out his most recent book, Moses Jones and the Case of the Missing Sneaker, click here.

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